Heart Disease and Stress
- Heart disease and stress introduction
- How does stress increase the risk for heart disease?
- Does stress affect everyone the same?
- What causes stress?
- What are the warning signs of stress?
- How can I cope with stress?
- How can I keep a positive attitude?
- How can I reduce my stressors?
- How can I learn how to relax?
- Guidelines for healthy eating to fight stress
- What if sleep problems are contributing to my stress
- Find a local Cardiologist in your town
Heart disease and stress introduction
Are stress and heart disease related? Does stress increase the risk of heart disease? Stress is a normal part of life. But if left unmanaged, stress can lead to emotional, psychological, and even physical problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, chest pains, or irregular heart beats.
How Does Stress Increase the Risk for Heart Disease?
Medical researchers aren't sure exactly how stress increases the risk of heart disease. Stress itself might be a risk factor, or it could be that high levels of stress make other risk factors (such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure) worse. For example, if you are under stress, your blood pressure goes up, you may overeat, you may exercise less, and you may be more likely to smoke.
If stress itself is a risk factor for heart disease, it could be because chronic stress exposes your body to unhealthy, persistently elevated levels of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Studies also link stress to changes in the way blood clots, which increases the risk of heart attack.
Does Stress Affect Everyone the Same?
No. People respond in different ways to events and situations. One person may find an event joyful and gratifying, but another person may find the same event miserable and frustrating. Sometimes, people may handle stress in ways that make bad situations worse by reacting with feelings of anger, guilt, fear, hostility, anxiety, and moodiness. Others may face life's challenges with ease.
Next: What causes stress?
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